Archive for the ‘Dark Modern Ages’ Category

And I Won't Save You from the Rats

Monday, October 21st, 2019

The girl hurled over her head a full rubbish bag that was almost half her size, aiming with anger-driven precision at the scurrying rat that simply explored his newfound pile of potential food. She was 7 or 8 at most, a tiny thing with a small frame, dark hair and even darker eyes.

As the bag hit the pile she didn't even care to look if she had hit the rat too or not. She didn't care that much about the rat or about *that* rat. Its unexpected appearance was just the straw that had broken the back of her thoughts turning them rather suddenly from gloomy resignation into sharp insight coloured by despair - hence the anger. Such insight, such despair and out of such a simple task that it had caught her entirely unprepared - if one can ever be prepared for such a thing anyway.

Throwing the rubbish out would be a simple task indeed but not there, not then - simple only in other places, inaccessible places and in other times, long-gone times. Where she was and where she was going to grow up, there was no such thing as a simple task, the environment itself would not permit it. And the complexity of the simplest task was always maddeningly irrational for it didn't come from the task itself but always from the surrounding bits and pieces that stood forever in the way of everything. But it was not even the unexpected and unnecessary complexity of something as banal as throwing the rubbish out that had her despair of everything - it was simply the suddenly obvious, uninterrupted and neverending pattern of brokenness that she had glimpsed abruptly on such a scale that seemed to her to entirely negate any possibility of finding a way out of it, ever.

The throw-out-the-rubbish chore should have been in normal times simply a matter of going with the bag to the building's rubbish chute on the same floor as the flat the girl lived in. But the chute didn't work anymore because someone had thrown down it something that had gotten stuck and nobody seemed to care enough to fix it. And so one had to go downstairs as many floors as was needed, except the lift was of course not quite working, as electricity would go on and off frequently and get one stuck in between the floors. The stairs were pitch dark too, sometimes for lacking light bulbs and sometimes for lacking electricity but at all times for some lack or another. To go up and down those gray, concrete stairs, there was at best of times only a flicker of light coming intermittently - if you knew how to look for it - from the hole between the rails in the middle. The building had at the back a door that led closer to the rubbish dump but the door could not be opened anymore because those not seeing the point of a working rubbish chute did not see the point of an opening door either. And now the rubbish dump at the back of the building had also overflown into a big rubbish mound that attracted - as she had just had the pleasure to discover - some rats to grow and possibly take over the building if they managed perhaps to compete with the cockroaches that had been entrenched in the building's basement for years already.

She quite expected nobody would really mind the rats either, at least not in any way that would make the slightest shred of difference. After all, they hadn't minded the stuck chute, nor the cockroaches, nor the unusable lift, nor the lacking lightbulbs or the ligthbulbs lacking electricity, nor the heating lacking heat, nor the food lacking meat, nor any of the other abundant lackings that made the very substance of daily life there, nor anything at all. That was really the insight that had hit the little girl that day in a visceral way for she hadn't found yet quite fully the words to say it: she was growing among those who had no capacity and no disposition to ever mind effectively anything, no matter how awful or how broken or how entirely insuffereable it would get. Other than perhaps a few more grumbles they just carried on as before, for them everything was equal to anything else and none of it mattered or could possibly matter.

I was once that little girl and every time when an exposed fault is ignored, every time when the choice between fix or live with it broken is made, I see again very vividly the mound of rubbish and the rat, the cockroaches and the pitch dark, the concrete gray wall blocking for hours the way out of the lift's tiny cage, the endless and inescapable string of lackings that end up making the "daily life" of them choosing comfort over painful fixing of whatever is uncovered to be broken.

And now tell me, as in those dear-younger-self fashionable exercises, what exactly would you tell that little girl and mind you that by that point she'd had already stared down "adults" before for talking "comforting" nonsense of the very empty sort.

What exactly will you tell your own child if one day they figure out just why and wherefore all the lackings they experience come from? Or is that really why you won't allow them to do much by themselves: the fear that they will inevitably find out how broken their environment really is?

Ossabot's Hoster After 1 Month

Friday, September 27th, 2019

After filtering quite a number of hosters back in August this year, I've selected as home for my logger a Moldavian business1 that seemed by far saner than many. While I would normally wait for quite a lot longer to review any provider, Stanislav asked me recently about them (in #o) and so I oblige. In short for the impatient, so far my experience is this: they have been reliable and very prompt; they are willing to do the right thing although at times they need to be asked specifically (ie they will do it but you have to ask for it); they have only Intel dedicated servers (the cheapest is 49EUR /month) but with unlimited traffic (promised by them, I haven't really tested it in any way) and a reasonably stable connection. Since they seem willing and able to learn, I'll take the time to talk to them first and invite them to register a key and come by #ossasepia so that hopefully they can further answer questions and who knows - get further clients. So give this a few days please and I'll update with their response to this, either way. As for the details of my experience with them so far, read on.

The way they made it to the top of my list would be: no idiotic restrictions as far as I could tell, no idiotic requests for data that doesn't belong to them, a reasonably clear description of services offered and prompt+relevant replies to questions asked, accepting payment in BTC. Right from the start they've been very responsive (you can basically have a reasonable conversation via email with them during working hours) and reasonably accommodating, if somewhat in need of clear directions at times. I'm fine with this - from my point of view it qualifies as providing a service.

Initially I took a dedicated server on a monthly basis (for what I consider the absolute minimum initial test-period; as things worked out well, I just switched to yearly basis and so just paid the new invoice for the next year). I asked them for Gentoo on it but specifically with python 2.7 and gcc 4.9 (although it wasn't on their public list) and they replied willing to do it but from their answers it quickly transpired that they weren't all that knowledgeable about what it involves exactly. As I wanted my logger up sooner rather than later, I decided to go ahead with CentOS 6 instead, as a much more straightforward option. To their credit though, from all the signs, they would have tried to do the Gentoo, had I insisted on it (and they never said no in any form).

To get my dedicated server, there was at first a slight confusion as they have this "account" on their website and well, it wasn't quite clear what sort of "account" do I need to make a BTC payment. Happily it turned out that the account is really just for them to have where to send your invoices /group your orders rather than otherwise involved in any way with BTC payment. While I can't say I'm particularly fond of yet another account, it's at least minimal so I let it pass. As to the payment itself, they have a bit of a silly thing: they generate a new address every time you click on the "pay this invoice" button and the interface then starts a 1 hour timer for it too! Nevertheless, one email and one question later they said the sane thing - the timer doesn't matter. So now when I paid for the full year, I simply got the BTC address they gave me2 and made my payment, they waited for network confirmations and once those were in, the invoice was marked as paid and that's that. Isn't it how things should work, anyway?

Once the payment was made, they were very prompt with the delivery - iirc it was that same day or at most the day after. They sent at first the details in plain text via email and without any fingerprint of the server either but once I asked them specifically to regenerate the credentials, add the server's fingerprint and then encrypt everything (here's my public key, use it!), they did it straight away. There was some other minor issue (I can't even recall exactly what it was) that they promptly corrected when I pointed it out to them so all was well.

In terms of uptime and bandwidth, things look fine so far: there wasn't any reset of any sort, I could always connect and otherwise the logger fell down from the chans only twice in one month and one of those was after a netsplit; I already gave in chan some timings for access from the UK that compared favourably with other locations. My needs for this particular machine are not that great and so I didn't really look for anything further than the above. At any rate, if/when I need something else/more I rather expect I'll need to specifically ask them for it but if past experience is anything to go by, they will be willing to do as asked so that works for me.

Overall, my main reservation at the moment in recommending them for business is that one needs to communicate via email and to go through the un-necessary website account thing to order something from them. Hopefully though they actually want more business and so they will make it into the WoT once asked for it, so I can rate them and get them in a position where they can offer further service. Let's see how it goes, at any rate.

UPDATE 30 September 2019: Glad to say that they acted on this as promptly as on everything else - Maxim Mivo registered a key and then joined #ossasepia where he seems to have gotten a new client already.


  1. I can't really give their name since they don't yet have an identity really, seeing how they don't have anybody with a registered key and so I can't rate them. With this as with all the rest, I'll have to ask them though, perhaps they take the sensible route and come in. Update 30/09/2019: meanwhile Maxim Mivo registered a key as CEO of MivoCloud and so I rated him. 

  2. Yes, a proper 1. 

Tedious Takeover, Regulatory Style

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Motto: for your own safety and security

In 2017, the UK has enacted a shiny new Act1 that became effective this very year (2019), in April. The core of it is to make it abundantly clear that higher education in the UK has not much left in common with the ancient tradition of focusing on learning and advancing knowledge. Instead, the new Act states clearly that the very term "higher education"2 will by law apply only to those who submit humbly and fully to the newly created Office for Students (OfS) whose stated "four primary regulatory objectives" read:

All students, from all backgrounds, and with the ability and desire to undertake higher education:
1. Are supported to access, succeed in, and progress from, higher education.
2. Receive a high quality academic experience, and their interests are protected while they study or in the event of provider, campus or course closure.
3. Are able to progress into employment or further study, and their qualifications hold their value over time.
4. Receive value for money.

Do you see anywhere in there anything at all about knowledge? Anything at all about personal improvement even? Sure, if you *already* define your "learning" along the lines of "academic experience", your "knowledge" along the lines of "qualifications" and your personal improvement along the lines of "progress into employment or further study", I guess you are plenty served there, fully protected and well looked after. After all, the less "you" there is left, the less trouble you can ever get into. Just progress between these walls here and those walls there - we're building more walls too, don't worry, you'll never have to go outside of any walls really - just stay between the walls and enjoy the... experience, I guess? Oh, it's called academic experience, just so you know, it's all the rage to have one or two or even three of those now, so go for it! And never mind the money either, since you'll receive value for it, the OfS has it written right there, at point 4, ok? Not to mention that having a huge debt will be all the rage by the time you finish the ... experience.

To move further from the above - if you can, because honestly, by this point and under those definitions I already lost all interest in having anything to do with this particular brand of "higher education" - let's see exactly what does this OfS really do and when would you actually have to suffer them around. Perhaps it's just for those institutions that are indeed not independent anyway but fully public-funded and thus perhaps quite rightly saddled with all the attendant indignities? But of course not, no, why stop there! And how *can* there even be - says the bureaucrat arching his eyebrows in extreme surprise - recognised education outside of the state-mandated experience? No, such thing is not to be tollerated3 and therefore, any institution that wants to be able to award its own degrees has to register, bow and bend over for the OfS to consider it at will. Even for that procedure there is some prescribed progression, of course, and while the wad of paper doesn't go quite as far as saying that nothing else than *that* particular form of worship will do, it can't fully keep itself in check either and so makes a note that if the route taken is not the "typically" taken route, then you should talk to them first, before even applying (let's all chant now, the logical why: for your own safety and security!). Just in case you were curious, the "typical" route for an institution applying for its own degree awarding powers is to have been first for at least 4 consecutive years in a validating/franchising agreement with a degree awarding institution.

Trying still to look at more palatable options, I looked first at what exactly is included in "degree" and here it is: anything foundation and bachelor's (aka undergraduate) as well as master's and doctorate. So what's left? Well, you could in principle go for something like "further education" that is supposedly filling the gap between finishing school and going into either higher education or work. But of course, that doesn't have much to do with anything at the end of the day and moreover, if you actually do take in those under 18, you end up in the other (even wider, since more established already) wad of regulatory paper - experience-ensuring for children since they are not classed as adults.

While I read further and further through a lot of tediousness, I really can't summon any reason to further spend time on dissecting it here since there's no benefit I can see from it. Given the above, I'd rather make my own "institution" altogether since dissociating from those4 is a benefit all in itself but if you really see some path that might still be worth to follow in there, please leave a comment.

And if you are here in search of what once used to be called higher education (and is called so no more), have a look at younghands.club and The Pageboy's Pledge and come talk to me.


  1. It's called HERA to stand supposedly for Higher Education and Research Act 

  2. Also related, "reserved" words: university, university college, accredit and derived words, polytechnic, university centre. 

  3. and for very valid reasons, I suspect, since imagine the trouble then - you might get some pesky real thing that you can't control and then what are you going to do?? 

  4. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure that "university" is worth claiming back given its roots; if anything, I suppose I'd go for "academy" but even that is used around here, in the usual maddeningly confusing way, for some sort of school-trusts; overall my already-chosen younghands.club domain stands probably best as it is, after all 

The Pageboy's Pledge

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

  1. I ask for help to expose and correct my mistakes so that I can learn from them and grow to be a better person.
  2. I commit to my own improvement through training as directed by my Master.
  3. I practice at all times unflinching honesty towards myself, my peers, my betters and my Master.
  4. I open myself up to take in fully and make the most of my Master's feedback whenever gifted and in any form given.
  5. I submit to my Master's judgement at all times.


So help me my own intelligence and cursed be my own stupidity that is holding me back!

Silently Unhappened on TheOdinProject.com

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

From the series of "I must be doing something right if *they* are so afraid of me", I had today the lulz surprise of finding out that a derpy forum1 "unhappened" silently my account2. As in literally, vanished entirely not only my "page" but also what comments I left for others leading to the great achievement that now there are replies to my non-existing comments3. Wouldn't you say that's great for learning? You get for once a user who can and is willing to actually help others around and then you ...unhappen this user without a word even because... what exactly? No idea but possibly they have a bucketfull of "oh noez" that I kicked over without even trying or something4.

Oh noez and all that but imagine it - after making an account and engaging with some newcomers there for their benefit5, the loss on my side is... what exactly? That I will now totally set the bozo bit on this particular derpy forum? That they give me now an excellent antecedent as to why exactly it's a mistake to even take any notice of their "forum" interface and accounts and all that pretense at all? And that clearly from now on I'll document upfront each and every descent I still deign to make into such sad holes? Or perhaps that they are slowly but surely adding concrete fuel to my otherwise sluggish motivation for pillage and burning, that must totally be their gain I'm sure.


  1. Since can't derp without pretense, it's called theodinproject and I'm not going to link it, no. It has a stylised hunting trophy icon and is otherwise a sad trap for web-developer wannabe misguided souls. It runs on "Discourse" too so that it's in *that* bucket rather than in a different bucket (e.g. flarum, *BB and so on.) for all the difference that makes to the caught crabs within. 

  2. Here's what it says today at the link for my account, preserved in amber for the future: archive.is/FcGC6 

  3. Here's an example of a reply to one of my comments and I'll let you judge how terrible my comment must have been given the reply: "That's an excellent point - I did take some statistics/logic and reasoning courses as well, though, so hopefully that'll help with the literal-ness!" 

  4. By now it's probably extremely easy too as I'm clearly alien to them. 

  5. In fairness it was all of 20 minutes first-pass sort of thing, to get the pulse of the place - apparently it didn't even survive the lightest touch, who knew there are such wallflowers on the internets. 

The Young Hands Club

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Since I already have a eager young hand and it turns out that even online young hands still need some space in which to mess around as much as their growth requires, I've went ahead and set up The Young Hands Club precisely for this purpose. A sort of very public learning club if you want - and even if you don't!

Now let's see what comes out of it in one year's time. The opportunity is there, the options are all yours supposedly so... what will you *do* about it?

My First Hours on Dev.to

Friday, July 12th, 2019

As I really have too little time to waste any of it on fretting about how to start on things, I just picked Dev.to as the first online place to explore in search of young hands that grow from their right place and not from arse1. The choice was quite arbitrary really - it popped out on my unordered list as a relatively lively place and it uses GitHub old accounts so at least I did not have to make yet another "account". As a result, I now have in there too, that same old end-of-uni photo of mine that GitHub also has but so what. Anyway, to start it off, I gave them some content for free, sure, what's a few paragraphs to me now, here it is:

Come work on what matters, so you matter too.

I'm part of TMSR - the place where well-thought Bitcoin innovation happens steadily, publicly, unfashionably and with inescapable, far-reaching consequences. From a new model of software development to a MMORPG and building up a working market for computer artists plus everything software and hardware in between, the focus is at all points on owning what you do and growing your knowledge and ability at a sustainable pace.

The programming language of choice is Ada (with a fully-documented rationale as to why Ada) but work with legacy code includes C, C++, Python, Lisp and potentially anything else really.

Come work with me on things that matter, if you want to matter too. I write (and have been writing for a while) at http://ossasepia.com

The post above quickly got a few "hearts" and so far (1 day later) precisely no comments at all. Apparently love is easier to get than conversation, did you ever notice that? And what does it actually tell you, hmm?

The easy love aside, I didn't really wait (or expect) for any conversation to actually start from my first post, no matter what I'd have written there